April 6, 2018
Flexibility is a desired quality in our lives. Employers look to hire workers who can accomplish several types of tasks and who can navigate through road blocks while remaining productive. As a physical trait, it is considered a positive. While it is obvious in some sports such as gymnastics and figure skating, it is useful to be flexible in almost every sport.
In the fantasy football community, and especially the dynasty community, we should also embrace flexibility in roster construction. This is done by having less roster spots for specific positions and more flex spots.
We’ve all seen and played in plenty of leagues with these roster settings:
League A 1QB 2RB 2WR 1TE 1Flex
However, I propose something more along the lines of:
League B 1QB 1RB 1WR 1TE 3Flex
The biggest advantage of having more flex spots is having a varied roster construction throughout the league. In League A, most teams will probably look to build their teams around two positions: RB and WR. In a startup, you would most likely see most owners going either RB or WR through the first few rounds, with some occasionally going with a QB or TE.
Just imagine how much more interesting the draft would be in league B. The different types of strategies available would lead to potentially different results. An owner could feasibly go after two or even three of the elite TEs since one could potentially start 4TEs every week.
This goes beyond keeping the startup draft interesting. With a varied roster construction, it means that more teams can remain competitive throughout any given season. With more flex positions, there are many different ways to win. I will outline some of these methods.
Building through one position
This strategy involves identifying a position that is more important than most (usually because of roster or scoring settings) and concentrating the early picks on that position. The position that is most important will depend on the exact roster and scoring settings for your league. The idea is that you want enough early picks in that position to fill all of the spots in that position and all of the flex spots.
I am in a contract league (for information on what that is, check out my article entitled “Types of Dynasty Leagues - Variations”). In this league, the roster settings are 1QB, 3RB, 4WR, 1TE, 2 Flex. In 2016, our league champion had five great RBs:
Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, David Johnson, LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware
He had a well rounded team at all positions, but the strength of his team was at RB. Because of the potential to play 5 RBs every week, he was able to start all five of those players in most matchups (except bye weeks).
More recently, in 2017, a different champion was crowned and that particular owner built his team through the WR position. His players at that position were:
Robby Anderson, Antonio Brown, Corey Davis, Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins, Jarvis Landry
He was able to start all six of those players because of the increased number of flex spots.
It seems like every day in the world, we are exposed to the fact that equality escapes many individuals. Whether it is gender, race or sexual orientation, many people are judged based upon things other than their actions or merits. While I won’t pretend that we can solve all of the world’s problems with this article, I can still deliver an important message:
Judge an individual for what that individual does
Beyond spreading that mantra, I can also encourage this behaviour specifically for fantasy football. In leagues where there are several RB and WR starting spots, players at those two positions will be valued higher than RBs and WRs in League B from earlier in the article. When there are equal amounts of RB, WR and TE spots, individual production will be a bigger factor in player evaluation than what position they play.
Fantasy owner can take advantage of this system by taking the best player available. This can lead to having a balanced roster that is strong at RB, WR and TE. While it can make deciding weekly starters a little more difficult (especially compared to focusing on one main position), it will allow for choosing the best matchups from several positions. This is certainly the way to go for owners who are confident in their ability to pick their best possible players to start each week.
In the same league that I outlined in the previous section, I finished 3rd in 2017. While it is not the ultimate victory that I wanted, it is still a respectable result considering that my league has several fantasy writers, people who are active in the fantasy community and individuals who are quite knowledgeable about football. I achieved this result with a team that was balanced between RB and WR.
By the end of the season my RBs were:
Alex Colins, Kenyan Drake, Leonard Fournette, Duke Johnson, Dion Lewis, Doug Martin, DeMarco Murray
My WR core consisted of:
Kelvin Benjamin, Tyreek Hill, Alshon Jeffery, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Lockett, Adam Thielen
I was able to play the matchups and when certain players (Benjamin, Martin) were not performing, I had several options to replace them.
As dynasty fantasy football players, there are several elements that we use to evaluate NFL players over several years. One thing we cannot account for are bye weeks. Yes there is only one per player each season bit just imagine if you had 4 WR who had the same bye week. In a league with 3 WR spots, you would be hard pressed to find 3 decent replacements without cutting key contributors to your team. In a league with only 1 WR spot and multiple flex spots, you would not have to same headache to deal with, as you’d only need one replacement.
I hope that I was flexible enough to cover all of the angles of this topic. My closing statement is that dynasty leagues should have less one position roster spots and more flex. This will encourage a variety of roster constructions and it diminishes the impact of bye weeks. Until next time, keep up your Flex-Ability, and keep it locked on the Dynasty Dads podcast.
-Kyle Senra (Follow on Twitter)